Mixed Fundraising Bag For Mass. GOP Hopefuls

Sean Bielat, the Republican trying to oust U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, is pulling in donations from backers as far away as Texas, California and Guam.

The breadth of backing for Bielat, a political unknown until he challenged the Democratic incumbent, is another indication of national GOP anger at Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Bielat, who began October with $364,000 left in his campaign account, compared with more than $1 million for Frank, concedes most of his funding comes from out-of-state donors but points out that Frank also relies heavily on out-of-state donors and political action committees.

"It's absolutely true I'm getting the bulk of my money from outside the state," Bielat said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "On the other hand, it's absolutely true that he is too."

Frank defended his decision to accept hundreds of thousands from PACs and out-of-state donors. He's received nearly $748,000 from PACs this election cycle compared with $3,500 for Bielat, according to recent campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

"I get PAC money from low-income housing groups, from gay groups, from labor unions and from some financial institutions," Frank told the AP. "I do get a lot of money from out-of-state, but I also get a lot of money from in-state. That's the difference."

The fundraising race is narrower for the open 10th Congressional District seat, where Republican Jeff Perry and Democrat William Keating were about evenly matched in donations heading into the final campaign stretch.

As of Sept. 30, Keating reported about $279,000 in his campaign account, slightly more than the $266,000 reported by Perry. Unlike Bielat, Perry has received nearly all of his individual contributions from donors within Massachusetts.

Perry and Keating are vying for the seat being vacated by Democrat William Delahunt, who is not seeking re-election. Republicans see the race as one of their best chances to pick up a seat in Massachusetts.

Keating has relied more heavily on money from political action committees, having accepted more than $205,000 from them, much of it from unions. Perry has collected about $76,000 from PACS, including a $2,500 donation from former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney's Free and Strong America PAC.

In most of the state's other congressional districts, incumbent Democrats maintained large fundraising leads.

In the 5th Congressional District, GOP challenger Jon Golnik had $65,000 in his account compared with incumbent Niki Tsongas' $589,000.

Golnik has struggled to pull in donations after initially lending his campaign $105,000. He has collected $173,000 in individual donations.

While the bulk has come from within Massachusetts, Golnik also has received contributions from donors in more than a dozen other states, including Connecticut, Florida and California.

Tsongas has collected more than $1.3 million in individual contributions, including some from donors in more than two dozen states, such as Virginia, New York and Washington, D.C. Most of her contributions came from Massachusetts donors.

Tsongas also has relied heavily on PACs. As of Sept. 30, she had collected more than $283,575 from PACs. Golnik reported no PAC donations.

The other races showed even larger disparities.

In the 1st Congressional District, incumbent Rep. John Olver had spent $843,000 on his re-election as of the beginning of October compared with $24,000 spent by his GOP opponent, Willian Gunn. In the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Richard Neal had $2.5 million in campaign cash at the start of October, compared with $8,500 for his GOP foe Tom Wesley.

In the 3rd Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Jim McGovern had $683,000 in cash compared with GOP challenger Martin Lamb's $24,000, while in the 6th Congressional District incumbent Rep. John Tierney had $1.5 million in cash as of Sept. 30 compared with the $94,000 in GOP challenger William Hudak's account.

The widest disparity is in the state's 7th Congressional District, where incumbent Edward Markey's reported $3.4 million in cash as of Sept. 30 compared with $3,700 reported by GOP challenger Gerry Dembrowski.

In the 9th Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Stephen Lynch reported $738,000 in his campaign account. His Republican challenger, Vernon Harrison, had not reported any contributions.

This program aired on October 18, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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